Long Beach Connections Efforts Assist in Reduction of Homelessness In Downtown Area

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A recent survey of people experiencing homelessness in downtown Long Beach revealed that the homeless population has decreased by 12 percent since 2009, largely thanks to efforts of the Long Beach Connections initiative. The 2011 survey identified 303 individuals living on the streets in downtown Long Beach, down from 345 identified by a previous survey in 2009. Veteran homelessness and homelessness-related costs to public health systems also decreased during the two-year period.

“I want to thank the organizations and the many volunteers who helped with this initiative,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “I hope that other cities take note of Long Beach Connections’ success in reducing homelessness and duplicate these efforts in their communities.”

More than 100 volunteers interviewed homeless participants using a six-page Vulnerability Survey created by the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national initiative to permanently house the most vulnerable homeless persons throughout the United States. Survey results will be used to create a detailed name and photo registry of people living on the streets of downtown Long Beach, identify those considered most vulnerable to death or injury on the streets and move them into permanent housing. Of those individuals originally surveyed in 2009, more than 23 percent have already been placed into permanent housing through Long Beach Connections.

Long Beach Connections is a collaboration of community stakeholders led by People Assisting The Homeless (PATH), Mental Health America of Long Beach and the City of Long Beach’s Homeless Services Division to address homelessness in the downtown neighborhood of Long Beach. The initiative would like to thank and acknowledge the Downtown Long Beach Associates for recognizing early on that the entire business community benefits from projects like this, and for providing incredible support. Long Beach Connections is also a member of the 100,000 Homes Campaign.

Martha Long, Director Emeritus of the MHA Village said, “This project has been successful thanks to the collaborative effort adopted by the entire community. I am proud to say that I am Long Beach resident.”

For more information, visit www.longbeachconnections.org.

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